I love my iphone. I take it with me everywhere I go and I do use it quite a lot to shoot and post images on Instagram. Who doesn’t? It’s a great visual tool to showcase certain images or use it as a visual diary if you’re more into that kind of thing. But how do you make sure that your Instagram pics don’t come out looking boring or unappealing?
Here are 10 tips to get you started:
Focus point. Let’s be honest. I think the amount of blurry shots I have seen on Instagram are too many to count. And really focusing with your phone is as simple as tapping the area you want to have in focus. If it is too dark and you have movement blur, try and stabilize your phone by leaning on a table or against a wall.
Light: let’s face it, even though you shoot with your phone, the light is still every bit as important – if not more so – than with your SLR.
And daylight will always be easier to work with so use that whenever you can. There are some tricks when you want to use your iphone at night in darker situations but I will share more on that at a later stage. For now focus on daylight and make that work. As you can see from the example above: bad light is always worse in your phone and good light is very important to make the image look it’s best. Diffuse hard light with a white object or reflect shadows with that same white object.
Don’t get in too close. I’ve said it before but going in way too close is hardly ever a good choice, unless your subject is really pretty. But in general getting too close is not a good idea.
Make sure you get the angle right when using your phone. Due to the size of the sensor (which is tiny) much more of the image will be in focus. That can work very distracting when you’re shooting at eye level.
Most of my images on my phone are shot from above. That works perfectly with the phone and sometimes is even easier to do than with a regular camera. You do not have the issue of everything being in focus and a flatlay almost always looks good (if the light is good too!)
Composition. As with any photo, also on your phone the composition matters. Especially if you want to keep all your insta-shots square you have to make sure they fit into the square frame later on. Most phones have a square setting these days but I still prefer to shoot the original size and reframe later where necessary. Even though Instagram allows you to use vertical or horizontal images these days, most of it is still very much square based. So it makes sense to pay attention to the size of your subject.
Editing. There is a whole list of awesome apps out there that will give your images instant sex appeal. Sure the camera app itself has some options to edit the pictures too but I only ever use that one for turning my pictures the other way around when necessary. I have a few favorite apps I use for editing food pics:
Style. You see lots of beautiful instagram profiles with one gorgeous image after the next. Some have a complete strategy behind their posting so every single image fits into the style. Also keep in mind that not every image you see on Instagram is shot with a phone. A lot of the more beautiful ones out there are shot with an SLR. Either is fine by the way, in my opinion at least. Whichever you prefer. As you can see from the screenshot below my instagram is a mix of everything. Some images are shot on my phone, other with the camera. Some are light, some are dark. Pick whichever style fits you and try and stick to it. If you look at the amount of followers some people have it seems to pay of to stick with a very specific style on Instagram but it depends what you want out of it. People like @foodbandits or @symmetrybreakfast have it down to an art.
Tablesettings: I love shooting table-settings with my phone. It is easier than doing the same thing with your SLR and it creates a dynamic and fun photo. Picnic scenes from above with people in it do really well too.
As with all food photography also shooting for Instagram or in general on your phone, background matter! Try and shoot a scene on a white plastic table versus a weathered table and the difference will be apparent right away. I love old surfaces and will soon be writing a longer article on how to get or create pretty surfaces. For know you can find pretty surfaces anywhere, old garden tables, garden stones, concrete, kitchen counter. Just try and look with a different eye and you’ll find pretty things everywhere.
Have fun! Unless you are aiming to get more than a 100.000 followers I think Instagram is mostly a really fun way to share images with the world. Yes Instagram has all these stupid algorithms these days too but I try not to worry about it and just go with the flow. I don’t make money from my Instagram account so don’t worry too much about how many people like my images… 🙂 O and if you want to follow me it’s @simoneskitchen. See you there!
Since recently I also started an English Instagram. You can find that one (it’s new so still building) by going to In Simone’s Kitchen.
Food- and travel blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Loves to taste good food the world over.
She also loves to share travelstories, delicious recipes and ok, cat pictures too. She sometimes feels the need to get really healthy for a while, always mingled with periods of insanely delicious sweets and other decadent treats.
Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy.
Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist